Recently questions have been raised about what exactly is a conditional green card as it relates to the EB5 visa program. In this article we will explain what the conditions are to a conditional green card and what this really means to you, the EB5 visa applicant.
There are in fact two types of green cards: permanent green cards and conditional green cards. Most green cards are valid for ten years and must be renewed every ten years. Conditional green cards are valid for two years.
If you would prefer to listen to EB5 Visa Question – What does Conditional Green Card Mean? read by the author Stephen Parnell, click the small red Play button below:
Many potential EB5 visa applicants are of course worried about what happens when their conditional green card expires after about two years. With the information we present below we hope to explain how the removal of conditions in an EB5 visa case works, and once you understand exactly what that entails, we hope you will focus on what you need to know to ensure, as far as is possible, that you get the conditions removed and become a legal permanent resident of the USA.
So, how conditional is a conditional green card? – First let’s take a look at the steps towards the removal of conditions:
This can be broken down into the following stages:-
1) I-526 Immigrant investor status. Form I-526 Petition for Alien Entrepreneur is filed with the California Service Center. This petition requests the (United States Citizenship and Immigration service) USCIS to certify the applicant and the investment as eligible for EB5 visa status.
2) I-485 or Embassy interview. Upon approval of the I-526 petition, (a) if you are in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, your attorney will file for Adjustment of Status by sending form I-485 and supporting documents to the USCIS regional processing center (b) if you live outside the US you must wait for notification from the Embassy in your home country to prepare documents for the visa interview.
3) Conditional Green Card. Upon approval of Step 2, you receive a form evidencing the approval as well as a travel documents. You will also receive the temporary green card in the mail. If you are outside the US you must enter the country within six months of the date of the Embassy approval. Your green card status will be placed in your passport at the port of entry into the USA.
4) I-829 Permanent Residency (Removal of Conditions). After holding your conditional green card for one year and nine months, your attorney will need to file for Removal of Conditions using Form I-829. This procedure enables the USCIS to verify that you have maintained your approved investment for the required two year period and that the project into which you invested has been started and the required ten jobs have been created.
So what are the USCIS actually looking for in your I-829 removal of conditions petition?
- Sufficient evidence that your investment of $500,000 has been invested in line with your original I-526 application.
- Sufficient evidence of the creation of ten jobs per investor in the approved targeted employment area.
There are a few issues that can occur during the two-year period of the conditional green card that could hurt you.
- Downturn in the industry in which the project operates
- Problems in the development or construction of a real estate project
- Problems in the viability of a project leading to insufficient jobs to satisfy the ten jobs per investor criteria.
So, how can you be as sure as possible that you will not have a problem getting conditions removed?
- Get independent and unbiased information and education from an experienced EB5 visa consultant.
- Get immigration advice from an experienced EB5 visa attorney who is not directly connected to any particular regional center.
- Check out the background and experience of the regional center principals BEFORE you commit to anything.
- Complete adequate due-diligence on the job creating ability of the regional center project you are considering. (Adequate job-creations is the number one criteria for making your green card permanent)
Some of the questions to ask about job creation of any project are:
- How many jobs per investor are projected in the regional center business plan?
- Who is the economist who wrote the econometric study projecting those jobs? – What EB5 visa experience does this economist have?
- Who provided the data to prove the project you are considering is in a Targeted Employment area (TEA)? – The USCIS has recently stated that they will defer to the State in determining if a project is in a TEA. It is important for you to know who made the certification in your chosen project.
Once all this data has been gathered you will want to go over the findings with your EB5 visa consultant to insure you have enough information upon which to make an educated decision in your choice of EB5 regional center project.
With careful attention to detail you can cut your risk of not getting conditions removed from your green card although you cannot eliminate all risk; the EB5 visa program is, as defined by the USCIS, intended to be an at-risk commercial enterprise.
To end on a positive note; I will point out that in a recent release of statistics by the USCIS the rate of I-829 petitions approved in fiscal year 2011 was 96% — So please, ask for all the information you need, make an educated decision and you could be a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States within 6 months.
Contact the EB5 Visa Specialists at Which EB5 via email [email protected] or by telephone +1-561-771-1330